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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers James Hannington, Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa, and his Companions, Martyrs, 1885.

James Hannington was an English priest who traveled to Africa as a missionary in 1882. He served for a time in Eastern Africa, but had to return to England because of ill health. In 1884 he went back to Africa, having recovered, carrying with him episcopal orders. He was enthroned at Mombasa and set out to establish a series of mission stations west to Lake Victoria Nyanza by way of Mount Kilimanjaro.

A new king had just ascended the throne in Uganda, and when he heard of Bishop Hannington's approach he feared it was an attack on his kingdom and dispatched warriors to eliminate the problem. Hannington and his companions soon found themselves surrounded by hostile warriors. A group of them encircled the bishop and paused before plunging their spears into him, just long enough for him to say his last words, "Go tell your king that I die for the people of Buganda, and that I have purchased the road to Uganda with my life."

Within the next few days many of the native Christians of the area were brutally tortured and martyred. But the story did not end there. The church prevailed and today thrives among the people of Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.

Bless all who bear witness to your love throughout the world. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Precious in your sight, O Lord, is the death of your saints, whose faithful witness, by your providence, has its great reward: We give you thanks for your martyrs James Hannington and his companions, who purchased with their blood a road into Uganda for the proclamation of the Gospel; and we pray that with them we also may obtain the crown of righteousness which is laid up for all who love the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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